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About Andrea

Andrea Syverson is the founder and president of IER Partners, which has guided and strengthened brands of all sizes with savvy best practices for creating customers for life. Combining her passion of adventurous listening and working across diverse industries, her "outsider-insider" creative branding and merchandising expertise and objectivity has been valued by companies as diverse as Spanx, Ben & Jerry's, Celestial Seasonings, CHEFS and Boston Proper.  She holds an MBA and has dedicated more than 20 years to providing clients both domestic and international with innovative approaches to branding, product development and creative messaging. She is the author of  two books in which she shares her hands-on approach for both brand building and creating customer-centric products that enhance brands: ThinkAbout: 77 Creative Prompts for Innovators, and BrandAbout: A Seriously Playful Approach for Passionate Brand-Builders and Merchants. You may reach her at

Return on Inventory

Joe Palzkill
Good Plans, Great Reactions
Apr 22, 2014

An underappreciated component to inventory planning excellence is careful alignment of the planning calendar to the timing of marketing activities....

Retail Revelations

Melissa Campanelli
’Tis the Season for Experienced Retail Sales Associates
Nov 15, 2013

Many retailers are preparing for the busy holiday shopping days ahead by making sure their websites are working properly, their...

Catalog Doctor

Susan J. McIntyre
Why Catalogs Aren't a Bunch of Ads Stapled Together
Apr 11, 2014

PATIENT: "Doc, our new owners want to change the catalog so it's more like a series of ads — aspirational, exciting,...

B-to-B Insights

George Hague
2 Must-Have B-to-B Metrics
Apr 9, 2014

Smart CEOs know two essential B-to-B metrics to successfully grow their businesses: contribution per order (CPO) for new customers and...

The Art of Delivering Style

Maria Haggerty
3 Ways Retailers Can Avoid Warehouse Scalability Problems
Apr 2, 2014

Although growing quickly may seem like the ideal scenario, it can cause operational issues for retailers who are ill equipped...

Return on Intelligence

Jim Gilbert
2 Simple Ways to Become a Social Media Thought Leader and Build Your Following
Mar 18, 2014

Today I begin a new series about social media marketing. The goal is to help you become more adept at...

Designed to Convert

Tim Ash
Are Smartphones Bad at Conversions?
Mar 12, 2014

Tablets are winning. At least that's what it looks like if you've been keeping score. Adobe and Monetate generally agree...

Shipping Insights

Rob Martinez
2014-2015 Conference Calendar for Supply Chain, Distribution, Postal, Specialized Industry and More
Mar 4, 2014

The value of attending conferences is significant: learn from a combination of expert and peer-led presentations on trends and strategies...


Stephen Lett
Actions to Take (or Not Take) When Response Rates Decline
Feb 19, 2014

Catalog response rates have been flat or trending down the past few years … or so it seems. The web...

Retail Rants & Raves

Joe Keenan
Tips for Customizing the Online Shopping Experience
Nov 8, 2013

In an effort to give you a sneak peek into the upcoming Retail Online Integration webinar, One Size Does NOT...

Email Applied

Reggie  Brady
Taking Advantage of Events, Not Just the Big Holidays
Sep 16, 2013

Most marketers develop an editorial and promotional master calendar to help organize their upcoming email schedule. You want to have...

What's Waiting to Be ‘Just Born' in Your Production Line?

What holiday best represents your brand? How might the successes from that season be a springboard for others? What whimsical ways can you surprise and delight your customers through seasonal product promotions? What's waiting to be "just born" in your product offering?  Read More >>

How Ikea Practices Continual Improvement for its Brand

"There's more to life than furniture" declares a bold headline in a recent Ikea catalog. Perhaps a somewhat surprising statement from the world's leading home furnishings company. But if you know Ikea, then you know that it positions itself as "life improvers."  Read More >>

The Art of Fine Doing

With the beginning of a new year comes all sorts of prompts from brands, infomercials and various social media toward new behaviors — e.g., weight loss, exercise, decluttering, eating healthy, simplifying your financial record keeping, etc. It's also a good time to ask yourself just how exactly your company helps its customers achieve their goals. Is your brand inspirational and motivational enough to turn your customers into doers? Let's look how one brand masters the art of...  Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:

How Garnet Hill Delights its Customers

As the year comes to a close, take a moment and take stock of how often your products or services delighted your customers these past 12 months. Delight is a verb worth striving for. Here's how one brand lives it out year-round:  Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:

The Power of Seasonal Savoring

Tis the season! Starbucks has brought seasonal coffee bliss back to its customers with its beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte (known as PSL by its fans). In just 10 years, Starbucks has created a fall tradition that translated into more than 200 million of these beverages being sold since it launched. Here's another product success story — perhaps a bit quieter, but one that also focuses on the branding and merchandising potential of one powerful verb: SAVOR.  Read More >>

ThinkAbout: EDUCATE

What's intimidating about the use of your product or service? How might you create a class about your product? What would your customers be interested in learning and how can you position your product as part of that process? How are you inspiring new customers to try your product?  Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:

Can You Up the Ante on Your Products’ Amusement Factor?

Can you up the ante on any of your products’ amusement factors? Is there some ho-hum aspect of your product that could benefit from a bit of unexpected playfulness? Why not ThinkAbout that today and see where it leads you?  Read More >>

Something to ThinkAbout: Amusement

I recently returned from an enlightening branding walkabout in Australia for one of my clients. In this deep cultural immersion, I visited eight cities all across the country in eight weeks and met with over 60 of their brand stakeholders. We talked openly about the challenges facing this company’s existing product line, its present pricing structure, its future competitive arena and how it could adapt to the particulars of this niche Australian marketplace to be more customer

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Who's the Keeper of Your Brand Zest?

Perhaps you read earlier this month that Procter & Gamble sold most of its Zest soap business to a private equity company. After 60 years it was determined that this product line was no longer a strategic fit. Despite its various product extensions over the years (Aqua, Ocean Breeze, Marathon) and its combination tactics (Hair + Body), and the unique addition of ingredients (Hint of Honey), Zest no longer met Proctor & Gamble’s “secret sauce” criteria. No doubt this was a tough...  Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:

What Do You Yearn For?

Was one of your new year's resolutions to be more organized? To finally clear out the clutter in your office, closets, garage ... life? To have your home look like one of those Pottery Barn catalog spreads? You're not alone!  Read More >>

Companies Mentioned:

How Exclusive Merchandise Wins Sales

Investing in customer-centric proprietary product development fends off consumer ennui and extends the brand experience in all the right ways.  Read More >>

How Do Your Products Wow?

Certainly one of the many jobs that keep merchants on their toes is just that — continually upping the ante on the wow factor of their products. And that's no small task in the challenging arena of competitive product knockoffs, miniscule product improvements and category saturation.

The Proof is in the Products

In today's selling environment, where consumers are smarter and savvier than ever (and have access to thousands of other customers’ experiences via product reviews, Facebook and Twitter), merchants must be sure that all key products in their merchandise offering truly substantiate their brand's unique reason for being.  Read More >>

Calling All Merchketeers

Merchants and marketers need each other. On the most brilliant days of brand building, they share a brain and become united as one to create and deliver the very best offer to consumers. When this happens, they become "merchketeers."  Read More >>


A Merchant’s Job: Teasing and Pleasing

Like many women, I'm in lust with J.Crew. I just don’t know how it does it, season after season, catalog after catalog, offer after offer, email after email. It continually tantalizes me with merchandise that inspires me to stop everything and place an order. Who can resist?  Read More >>